Celtic have signed the recently crowned J-League player of the year as the Scottish champions continue to build their squad for the second half of the season.
The club confirmed the signing of Japan international Tomoki Iwata, who can play in a variety of positions in midfield and defence, on Friday.
The 25-year-old joins from Ange Postecoglou’s former club Yokohama Marinos initially on loan but with a compulsory purchase clause included, meaning he will be with Celtic on a permanent basis from this summer, on a long-term deal.
Iwata represents Celtic’s seventh acquisition from the Japanese top flight in the last 18 months that also includes Postecoglou and top scorer Kyogo Furuhashi.
He said: “I really am delighted to be joining Celtic, such a huge and successful club known across the world. I can’t wait to begin my journey with Celtic.
‘Everything about Celtic excites me – the scale of the club, the supporters, the atmosphere, the style of football which the club is famous for and of course working with the manager and players.’
“I am really looking forward to getting started, to meet my new teammates and begin working on bringing our fans more and more success.”
The manager believes he will be a player the supporters will take to.
He said: “We really are delighted to be bringing Tomoki to Celtic and I am sure he will be a player that our supporters will like.
“He is a versatile player who can operate in defence in midfield, a really committed footballer with some great attributes. He is at a great age for us where his career is on the right trajectory, but he already has a good level of experience.
“He has just had a brilliant season, he is very deserving of the accolade he has recently received as Japan’s Player of the Year and we are sure he can also bring this real high level of quality to our squad.”
Iwata joins Yuki Kobayashi and Canada star Alistair Johnstone at Celtic Park ahead of the new year as the club continues to get transfers in early ahead of the January window.
All three players will be available to play from January 1, meaning they could make their debuts against Rangers at Ibrox on Monday.